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article imageOp-Ed: Ivory Coast, is the battle for power finally coming to an end?

By Donna Murphy     Apr 1, 2011 in Politics
Abidjan - Ever since the 2008 election results, Laurent Gbagbo has clung on to power, refusing to recognize the will of the Ivorian people. Has his time finally come to an end?
For the last decade, the United Nations has passed resolution after resolution to try and resolve the problems in the Ivory Coast, they have been drafted, voted on and then completely ignored by Laurent Gbagbo. The primary export of Ivory Coast, cocoa, has been sanctioned as have diamonds. Still this has had no effect. Even pressure by the ECOWAS,(economic powers of west Africa) has had no effect. United Nations troops are there, they seem to be unable to bring any sort of stability to the area, with ceasefires being ignored and the troops themselves being attacked and blamed for the situation.(Source - Time The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that at least a million people have fled the country because of the violence. (Source - BBC
How he(Gbagbo) must be relishing the attention be deflected by the disaster in Japan and the conflict in Libya. Caroline Hurford, spokesman for the World Food Programme said "we would urge the world not to forget the situation in Ivory Coast and Liberia, where many Ivorians are fleeing to. This has the potential to develop into a serious but forgotten humanitarian disaster." it is certainly true that the conflict in Libya has been dominating the news.
However, it is beginning to look like the very situation that has been diverting our attention may be the downfall of Gbagbo in the end. If the world is going to take such a determined stand against someone who is as shrewd and highly organised both militarily and financially as Qaddafi, other leaders must realize that the world is a changing place and his sort of leadership is not going to be ignored anymore. As the United Nations have now shown, by the passing of Resolution 1975, just two days ago.(31, March, 2011)
By voting unanimously on this resolution, the council demanded that Laurent Gbagbo step down as President (allowing internationally recognized President Alassane Ouattra to take power) and imposed sanctions on him and his close aides. (Source - UN website). By doing this in such close succession to the previous Resolution on Libya (Resolution 1973), it would appear that the stalemate may, at last, be coming to a conclusion.
On various news channels this morning, 1 April 2011, it was being reported that Bgabo's own forces were deserting him. The blockade of his headquarters had been lifted and pro-Ouattara forces were trying to enter in a bid to install Mr Outtara. There are even gunmen calling themselves "invisible commandos" trying to oust Gbagbo. Their man, General Coulibaly however is also regarded as a rival to Alassane Ouattra and his government. It is important therefore, as the Minister of External Affairs for India is reported to have said, the United Nations should not be part of the political stalemate of the country, (Source - United News of India)
If certain countries around the UN table have learnt nothing else, they should have learned to be a little less hasty at passing resolutions without looking further ahead at the end game. Ivory Coast has had a long and unstable decade already, it has cost many lives, ruined their economy and displaced a vast amount of their population. We need to aid their road to peace, stability and democracy, not try and determine it. As Ban Ki Moon told the United Nations on 31 March 2011, The people in Ivory Coast have already demonstrated though the election in November, he(Gbagbo) has to step down. Let us hope that the situation ends very soon and a country that should be affluent both financially and culturally finds it's way into our holiday brochures and out of the news.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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